The following is a case study from a stop smoking session I ran a few weeks ago. This was not my typical session as the client was very familiar with the coaching process. He was a deep trance client which always makes for interesting and fun sessions.
As you'll see, the interesting thing about this session was that the bulk of the change work occured as we worked through the cravings. We went from a typical craving buster into a parts negotiation. If you are familiar with NLP techniques, you will recognize the negotiation as a 6 Step Reframe.
The 6 Step Reframe as a Craving Buster - A Case Study
I recently had a smoking cessation client come to my office. When he arrived he was visibly nervous, now I ask all my stop smoking clients to smoke their last cigarette the night before our session and this client had complied with my request, however it was clear from his state that not having his regular cigarettes through the day had been challenge for him In fact he was absolutely convinced that he had an addiction and was currently going through withdraw. This client was determined to stop smoking but was uncertain of his ability to take control of his emotions.
I have worked with a lot of smokers and while they may be a little uneasy not having a cigarette the day of their appointment, it is very rare to see a client in such a state. A few minutes into the session I decided to skip all of the usually preframes for the session, they could wait, the client needed more immediate help in changing his state. He was showing me the movement of his craving in his body through his hand gestures so I jumped right to the Backward Spin.
The client experienced a big enough shift in state that we could continue with the intake process.
I typically teach my clients two state control techniques, the Backward Spin and EFT and I wanted this client in particular to have the experience of taking control of his state through EFT so that he knew the control was really in his hands by the time he left my office. That is when something very interesting and unexpected occurred. His craving took on a life of its own!
We went through a couple of rounds of EFT and the client was able to move the negative feeling down to somewhere between a 2 and a 3 on the SUDS scale. We tapped for a few more rounds but the feeling wasn’t moving. Interestingly as we cycled through the EFT loops the name of the feeling changed and was no longer “craving”.
Our (myself, Sarah, and Shawn) view is that when a feeling does not want to move it is because there is some meaning or message for the client to receive. When asked about it, this client said, “yes there a message here”.
I could have just plainly asked him what it was however I was feeling very playful that day so we did something a little different. First I needed to clarify whether or not the “new” feeling and “craving” were in fact the same part or if we had more parts than originally thought. My suspicion was that they were the same part and the client confirmed as much.
Now it was time for the fun. I invited the part to appear in front of the client so he could see the part and the part could see him. The part agreed. The client took a deep breath and shifted back in his seat as the part emerged. For the first time he had the opportunity to see that aspect of himself that kept holding the problem in place.
I invited the client to ask the part, "What is the purpose of holding onto these emotions?" The client responded that the part wanted to keep the client emotionally balanced. The client was then invited to become curious about what the relationship was between the craving and emotional balance. The part responded by saying it was using the craving to remind the client to look after his emotional balance and it knew the cigarettes would calm him down.
There was obviously some re-education that needed to take place. The client thanked the craving part and asked if it would be willing to learn new strategies for emotional balance. The part of course agreed. I then invited both the client and part to collaborate on some new healthy strategies and choose a few to try out.
Once they had decided and both were happy with the solution the client thanked the part, embraced it, and made it a part of his whole self. He then opened this eyes with one of the biggest smiles I have ever seen.
We did continue on with the rest of the protocol mainly to keep his conscious mind satisfied that he had gone through the hypnosis ritual. It was clear through his physiological shift that he was free of cigarettes at the end of the parts work.
Ten days later the client returned and looked about 10 years younger! He reported that not only had he not smoked at all but there was no craving or "withdraw". He wasn't even tempted by the old triggers.
A 6 Step Reframe as a craving buster is a bit of an unusual approach and I certainly don't reccomend it with every client. However if you want to try it out it is very simple.
Invite the "craving" part to step outside of the client so she or he can interact.
Discover the positive intention behind the craving
Educate the Part
Collaborate on new strategies
The key here is to remember to invite the client throughout the process to thank the craving part. The gratitude is an important part of the reframe and helps with integration.